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June 17: Next novel is done!

Collision Course is complete! It is available for pre-order now.  Please consider pre-ordering the book as pre-order sales help a new book get off to a good start. The cover is at the end of this post.

Grammatical corrections from my wife (who has 27 years of newspaper experience) were entered during the week of June 4th. On June 9th, the manuscript was emailed to Ekkehard Flessa in Germany for his final proofing. English is Mr. Flessa's second language and his English is impeccable. While I waited for his comments, I began the process of formatting the book for printing. This involves setting the size of the page, adding the page headers, and adjusting the layout so that chapter headings all appear on even number pages.

Formatting a book for printing takes a considerable amount of time and patience. Page numbering starts at the first page of chapter 1 which is page 1. All chapters must begin on even-numbered pages. The first page of each chapter does not have a heading but all other pages do. Even-numbered pages get the author's name and odd-numbered pages show the title of the book. Margins are set for mirror margins to allow for the size of the binding and the header of the odd pages and the even pages are not only different in what they contain by how they are aligned.

I also look at where each chapter breaks. If there are only a few lines on a page, the line spacing is adjusted by tiny amounts to either shrink or expand the text to make the final page of the chapter either blank or filled with more lines to make it look better. Other formatting issues are taken care of by the styles I use when creating the book. For example, the first paragraph of a chapter or after a scene break is always left-aligned. Using styles to format a book makes things so much easier, especially when it comes time to alter that format for export to Kindle.

Once the manuscript is properly formatted, it is exported to PDF. I then go through it one more time to verify the book has been exported correctly and looks good. The two-page, side-by-side view is especially useful here. Since I make some corrections to the manuscript when it is formatted for print, I need to take all these corrections and roll them into the Kindle version. A copy of the CreateSpace version is made for this.

I apply a new template to the document and alter the page size to quickly put most of the text into the correct format. The new template alters the formatting as well as the font used throughout the entire manuscript. The final formatting step is to take the rough Kindle version and alter it so it can be converted to Kindle format by Amazon. All headers and section breaks are removed. A page break is inserted at the end of each chapter. The front matter is adjusted to a font size that will look better on e-readers and all tabs are removed (tabs do not translate).

Now that I have a PDF version, I know how many pages are in the final version. This is used to download a template from CreateSpace that is used to create the cover. I use Photoshop to assemble all the artwork and other elements to create the final cover. Since I've done this before, most of this can be accomplished by dragging and dropping the elements from a previous cover into the new one and then altering the text. This gives all of my books the same look.

As you can see, self-publishing a book takes a considerable amount of time. Please share this post with your friends who enjoy science fiction. Ask them to pre-order it; the cost is only $3.50. These sales will give the book a boost when it becomes available in a few weeks. Thank you! And, here is the cover:

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